Used as a security solution, encryption is the most important data security solution of the modern-day. Whether you are sending electronic data or reading data on your private computer, data encryption is the only sure way of keeping your data safe from spying programs and hackers.
Over the last few years, there have been hundreds of cases concerning data breaches, from Facebook to private companies and even private computers in people’s homes. These data breaches are mainly caused by a lack of a reliable data security protocol.
What is data encryption?
Encryption is the process of encoding data making it unreadable or hidden from unauthorized users. It is the best way to keep private or sensitive information safe and can be used to enhance communication protection on servers and apps. When data is encrypted, it becomes unreadable to anyone without authorization to access it.
Encryption uses a complex algorithm to encrypt data. When you encrypt your data, you get a cipher key that can unlock the data to make it readable. For this to work, only the authorized parties should have access to the cipher key. Otherwise, it beats the reason for encrypting the data.
Why is encryption necessary?
The importance of encryption of your data cannot be overstated. Even when you store your data in standard security infrastructure, there is still a need to add an extra layer of protection through encryption. Without encryption, there is still a high probability that your data can be hacked. Encryption makes your data and infrastructure much more impenetrable.
A public encryption key is a proof that a website’s server owns the private key and is thus legally awarded the SSL certification. With so many fake websites on the internet, encryption is an important feature on your website, especially for e-commerce sites.
With encryption, you are guaranteed that third parties cannot access data or read messages. This way, the text is only available to read to the sender and intended recipient. This is the best measure in deterring cybercriminals, internet service providers, government agencies, spammers, and hackers from accessing your private information.
With encryption, it is possible to protect data from breaches, whether stored or transmitted. For instance, if a device used to send and receive data in a company is stolen, the data stored in the device will remain secure if the hard drive was encrypted.
Encryption is the best security measure for protecting data against malicious activities such as man-in-the-middle attacks. It allows parties to communicate without worrying about data leaks.
Most government institutions and industries have to adhere to data safety guidelines that expect them to keep their client, employee, and company data secured. Encryption is the best way to ensure this data is safe and that the institution meets the regulatory standards. Regulatory and compliance bodies that certify encryption include GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
Ways that data can be encrypted
Protect your login credentials
It is essential to protect your login details, especially for important sites like government services, banking, social media, and email. Using a password management application is one of the best ways to ensure your online accounts are secure.
A password management app allows you to create unique passwords for all your accounts and stores these passwords safely, away from your browser.
This is the best way to avoid using the same login details for fear of forgetting your passwords.
Use a VPN for data exchange and viewing
Using a VPN as an encryption tool (Virtual Private Network) protects your online traffic to ensure protected data exchange on your network. This is especially important when you are using public Wi-Fi services to send and receive sensitive data. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel from your computer to the websites you visit, ensuring your data is kept safe from prying eyes.
Secure your devices with passcodes and passwords
Personal computers and mobile devices store a lot of important user data. Passwords are the best way to encrypt data on these devices and add an extra layer of security. The best passwords should be able to keep unwanted people out.
Opt for number passwords as opposed to fingerprint and pattern access that hackers find easy to override.
Review your extensions and app permissions
Whenever you download a mobile application, it prompts you to allow it to access your files, contacts, device storage, and other features. While some apps cannot work without these permissions, most of this information is used for marketing purposes and can fall into the wrong hands.
Review the permissions you give to apps and only install apps and extensions from reputable providers.
Use email and messaging applications with end-to-end encryption
While most messaging apps claim to offer encryption, most of your communication data always end up in the service servers. If hackers gain access to these servers, it can lead to data breaches that can put your private information at risk.
Only choose email and messaging apps that offer end-to-end encryption for all data exchanges. This ensures that even the service provider cannot read your data.
Keep your phone number and email address private
Whenever you share your email address or phone number, what follows is a ton of spam messages and emails. As much as possible, avoid sharing your phone number and primary email address, as this can make it easy for hackers to reach you. Most of them use spam email to send links and malware programs to internet users.
Consider creating a disposable email address and phone number for random online subscriptions and services. This will keep your official email and phone number secure.
Disable lock screen notifications
As you protect your devices with impenetrable passwords, you also need to adjust your notifications settings. This will prevent your private data from appearing on the screen. You can disable lock screen notifications from your device settings.
Update your devices
Your web browser and device software should always be up to date. Enable automatic updates to ensure install installation whenever a new version is available. These updates come with security patches for critical loopholes that hackers can use to gain access.
When you encrypt your data, you can worry less about privacy and data security.